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  • Jim Schroeder

Marketing is not Everything

On this grey Saturday morning I decided to grab a book wanting to learn a few more secrets about how to efficiently and effectively invest in my business and took off for the nearest restaurant from my house that was open.  I cruised a few miles down Route 32 to this place, affectionately known to my family as “Restaurant Restaurant”.  The full official name of the place is “Restaurant, Restaurant with a side of Antiques”.  If you squint or enlarge the attached picture you will see the small “antiques” banner calling out to you.

I wound through the parking area and found a spot among the farm trucks, one bigger and more diesel and dually than the rest.  As I got out of my truck, the thought struck me.  These people are terrible at advertising and marketing.  I mean they simply do not care and if they do care they are among the worst, the very worst at it.  I never see their advertising around, no social media ads within the 5-mile radius hit my Facebook or Instagram.  None of the billboards on the highway call out to try the culinary delights of Restaurant Restaurant (with a side of antiques).  I apologize if I missed it but I have not seen their name emblazoned on a local little league team t-shirt.

Now if you know anything about me you know I don’t do slam pieces, rarely will I complain or criticize another business person.  Like I told you in the beginning I went and ate breakfast so my purpose you see is not to attack the fine purveyors of Americana breakfast, serving morning sustenance one plate of pancakes, bacon or eggs over hard at a time.  I point out what they don’t have to draw your attention to what the do have.

Restaurant Restaurant serves a great breakfast.  Their pancakes are big, they give you the whole syrup bottle rather than making you fidget with half-a-shot plastic cups of syrup.  Their eggs are done correctly, they have Frank’s Hot Sauce or Tobasco for your peppering pleasure.  Bacon crisp, coffee hot and refilled before you see the bottom of the cup, extra napkins without asking and the food comes out together and in a timely fashion.

They have the best waitress I have seen for a hundred miles or more.  She smiles, she makes good suggestions, she checks on you regularly always with a coffee pot in hand and she never stops.

Their advertising and marketing stinks.  Less than bad.  Who hangs two restaurant banners, not signs, banners on the front of the building and then caps it off with a sign for antiques.  There are no antiques in the place either, a showcase of knives and one of those claw machines that eats money like a trucker at the end of a four hundred mile run.

They seem not to care.

The parking lot is full of trucks and inside the booths and tables mostly occupied by local farmers and a few couples on their way to Saturday morning adventures of shopping and family visiting.  They are slinging eggs and bacon, pouring coffee and smiling away in blissful ignorance of the marketing black cloud hanging ominously over their entire enterprise.

Whether intentionally or not these businesspeople have committed to providing their customers a really nice restaurant experience, so nice they say it twice.  People park under peculiar banners and walk right in.  Then the come back again and again.

These people put their energy into the experience and service they provide and it shows.  I would rather have this than what I sadly see too much.  Businesses who can get them in the door but cannot deliver.  Businesses who go out of business paying advertising and marketing guru’s beach house mortgages, in and out of their business dream in a flash with nothing left than a lingering favorable google search placement.  Give yourself a break.

So this morning I am taking a deep breath and hitting the pause button on the marketing anxiety disorder.  I encourage you to do the same.  Long before LED signboards and social media funnels, customers found their way to businesses who did what they did with passion and excellence.  They still will.  Rather than spend hours and hundreds of dollars tweaking your marketing perhaps you would be better served using that money to train employees, attend a conference to increase your knowledge base or putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls.

People find their way to Restaurant Restaurant because they do what they do well.  As long as they keep serving quality food at a fair price, with a smile in a relatively clean establishment those banners will be flying along the highway.

A few people I am sure they pull out of the parking lot and say to one another, “I didn’t see any antiques, did you?”  That’s OK, gives them something to talk about when they come back again.  If they can find a parking spot.

Give yourself a break.  Spend a little more time on the service or experience you offer.  That is why you chose the business you chose in the first place I hope because you love giving people value for their dollar, creating wealth and building your community.  God bless you as you go build your dream!

As always if you need some help with legal, strategy or other business issues I am here to help you get from where you are to where God wants you to be in life and business.

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